Each year an average company loses almost 5% of its annual profit just because of employee fraud. In 2019, Global Fraud and Risk Report, around 38% of frauds in business are internal frauds. Small and medium-sized businesses face a greater risk of internal fraud than larger organizations due to many factors. Businesses need to implement best practices concerning employees to control the enterprise’s everyday risk management procedures. So that prevent internal fraud successfully.
The type of fraud that a business deal with can be divided down into three categories; asset misuse, theft, and financial statement fraud. Misuse of assets, although being least priced, makes up 90% of fraudulent activity. It’s crucial to have a fraud prevention plan to prevent and detect the loss of a company. Preventing fraud is much easier than recovering the loss after the fraud.
But other than renting the internal audit service, there are a few steps like implementing several procedures and controls to minimize the fraud occurrence.
Every employee within an organization must know about the fraud risk policy including the warning signs of fraud, types of fraud, prevention skills, and the consequence related to it. Each of them must train to report any suspicious behavior/action by customers and clients to higher authorities. This kind of awareness affect the staffs, creating an anonymous reporting process is also set to ease to report about some fellow worker. By this, employees in fraud-prone areas also become aware that management is watching. In every business there should a code of ethics, that clarifies that any kind of unethical action will be considered as a punishable offense.
To detect and prevent fraud, every organization needs to create and maintain internal controls. It is a plan/program to safeguard the assets by ensuring the integrity of the financial records to deter and detect the fraud. This involves several layers of review and restriction to access financial transaction or account data, listed access, creating multi-person sign-off on any payment reimbursements, arrange overtime, all check writing functions, and other accounting or payroll functions, and arranging independent overview of audit logs of company’s financial record to ensure the integrity of the books.
Segregation of accounting duties is one of the important components to deal with internal fraud. In many businesses, only one person is completely responsible to handle all the accounting duties such as processing payments, paying the bills/invoice, handling cash, and recording the activities in the accounting system. That makes the path easy for any fraud to remain unnoticed. On the contrary, a business should engage at least two-three employees to handle these functions to keep the cash handling and account registering separately. This process is effective to reveal any kind of discrepancies in accounting.
Irrespective of the size of the company, one must audit regularly. Audit in the areas that deal with cash, product returns, refunds, accounting functions, and inventory management. At times occasional non-scheduled audit is of more help to detect frauds in critical business areas.
If your business needs more extensive review and audit then you may think of going for a professional accountant or Internal audit service. This way you can implement more efficient fraud prevention steps. Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) are certified in Fraud forensic(CFF). And can provide extensive help in initiating antifraud policies and procedures. But while opting for external hiring accountants or expert professionals, it becomes important to ensure that these individuals have the experience and reputation to provide the best quality service.
Fraudulent employees do not discriminate against the nature of industries or the geographic location of it. As an owner, you might face economic deprivation such as huge financial loss, damage to the company’s reputation, legal costs due to internal fraud. So, having an appropriate strategy can efficiently reduce fraudulent activities. The best way to deal with internal fraud is to know your employees better and check the background of them who will be going to handle cash or managing payments. Remember the expense you are bearing to prevent fraud is much lesser than the price of fraud that gets committed.